Next month — July 27-29Stockholm, Sweden: 60.98 pounds round trip

Fly Ryanair from London Stansted to Stockholm S. Skavsta.

Start your exploration of this trendy, artistic city made up of 14 islands in Lake Malaren at the Stockholm Stadshus, or town hall. Bearing three gilt crowns and the national coat of arms, it is often referred to as the symbol of the city. Inside, visit the famous Blue Hall — site of the Nobel Prize banquets — and admire the walls covered with mosaics made with more than 18 million pieces of gold and colored glass.

Next, visit the Royal Palace in the old town, still the official address of the royal family, but used now largely as a museum. Tours are available of the state apartments with their baroque ceilings, artwork, 17th- century furniture and fine tapestries.

The palace also houses the Museum of Antiquities; the Treasury, which exhibits the crown jewels; and the Royal Armory, with elegant coaches, coronation costumes, weapons and armor all on display.

During the summer, a military parade accompanies the traditional changing of the Royal Guard in front of the palace. The changing of the guard begins at 12:15 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and at 1:15 p.m. Sundays. Visitors should go to the local tourist information center for parade times and routes as they can change. For more information, see Stockholm’s Web site at

Families will enjoy visiting the city’s greenest island, Djurgarden (Deer Park), home to the Skansen museum. The open-air museum features a windmill, manor house, silversmith and a town quarter with handicraft demonstrations that help showcase Sweden’s cultural heritage.

A top attraction in the city for everyone is the Royal Warship Vasa Museum, which includes most of the 700 original decorative sculptures that were on the Vasa when it sank in 1628 on its maiden voyage. Take a walk through a full-scale model of the ship’s upper gun deck.

Three months — Sept. 21-23Carcassonne, France: 82.90 pounds round trip

Fly Ryanair from London Stansted to Carcassonne.

Start on the right bank of the River Aude in Carcassonne’s medieval walled city, a U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage site. The nearly two miles of fortification include 52 towers and two rings of walls and is home to around 120 residents. Within the city, tourists can explore the many specialty shops and see local craftsmen at work.

Holiday makers should visit the Musée des Memoires du Moyen Age with exhibits on costumes, weapons, architecture, and defense techniques used in medieval castles. Also within the walls is the 12th-century Comtal Castle, offering guided tours and gallery talks and the Musée Lapidaire, with an exhibition highlighting the restoration of the city.

Take a sightseeing ride on the little train or tour by horse-drawn carriage, both departing from Narbonnaise Gate and offering comprehensive commentary in multiple languages.

On the left bank of the River Aude is the country estate Bastide Saint-Louis, home to many monuments, parks, private mansions and the architecturally beautiful St. Vincent’s Church. Also within the estate is the Gothic-style St. Michael’s Cathedral, featuring many fine examples of art. The Carcassonne Tourist Office says tours can be arranged to any of the sites within Bastide Saint-Louis.

No trip to this southern France town is complete without a visit to one of the local vineyards to sample the wine and enjoy a local meal at some of the finest vineyard restaurants. Leave your diet at home and try the local cassoulet, a heavy dish featuring a mixture of beans, duck and pork.

Airfare prices include estimated taxes and are courtesy of the Web site Prices were verified as of Monday afternoon when Stripes UK went to press. Deals are not guaranteed to be available; restrictions may apply.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now